As winter weather moves in across Ohio, safety advocates are warning residents about how to avoid slips and falls, and the injuries that oftenn occur as a result. While ABC 6 reports that cold weather and icy sidewalks are largely to blame for the recent influx of slip-and-fall-related injuries seen at central Ohio hospitals, there are still steps residents can take to help themselves stay safe.
Wearing gloves is one recommended way to reduce the chances of a slip-and-fall related accident. Without gloves, pedestrians may find themselves at a higher risk of a head injury, should they fall, because they are more inclined to place their hands in their coat pockets, where they are not easily available to break a fall. Safety advocates also advise that travelers give themselves extra time to get from one place to another, as icy, snowy roadways can slow the process and make people who are rushing more likely to fall.
When falls do occur, the repercussions can prove catastrophic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that falls are the single-most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. These and other head injuries can be especially dangerous when they involve older people who are more likely to be taking blood thinners and other prescription medications that may cause uncontrollable bleeding.
Furthermore, the costs associated with this type of injuries can be staggering, amounting to about $31 billion in medical expenditures each year in the United States. Another concern lies in the fact that once someone falls, he or she typically becomes more likely to fall again. A fear of falling frequently leads to decreased motion, which ultimately results in body weakness. Weakness is a major risk factor for falls, as are vision problems, the use of certain medications and vitamin D deficiency.